An unsigned sign.

This sign has intrigued me for quite a while. It’s posted, as you can see, in the middle of the Boulevard Montparnasse.  Not exactly in the midde. A third of the way across.  What’s curious is that there are several but none are “signed” so we don’t know who put them there. The city? The police? The RATP? An NGO? A neighborhood association?

Here’s a close-up. As it isn’t legible at a distance equal to the width of the two traffic lanes separating the pedestrian on the sidewalk from the sign, I had to stand in the middle of the street to read it.

It could be translated into English as “Careful Pedestrians.” Though, I suspect it’s to be interpreted as : “Pedestrians: Be Careful!” Or maybe it’s to warn pedestrians to be wary of other pedestrians. The small print explains it clearly. If you turn your head to a 90° angle, you can read “BUS.” Then you’d have to do another 180° from there to read the other side … Anyway, the idea comes across that a bus lane (singular) runs in dual directions on either side … of a thin black line. …  Or does “double sens” really mean “double meaning” ? I had to stop reading because the 91 was approaching. Too bad, because I was just about to decipher what the other arrows meant…

It was driving slowly in case there were bicycles. Bikes have the right of way in bus lanes. We encourage ecological solutions to the world’s problems. That’s why we group bus transportation and no-pollution bicycling in the same lane.

It was following the rules.. The arrow was pointing the direction in case the driver was distracted

and though I didn’t realize it at the time, bus drivers are multi-tasking folk.

Once the bus had passed … this couple decided to cross … They must have read the sign because they are looking out for buses.  Even if they are looking in the wrong direction. Fortunately, there were none. What they missed were the red lights.

But they weren’t the only ones …

people of all ages cross at the crossings …

and most manage to get to the other side.

It must be thanks to “Maréchal Ney” who directs traffic at the intersection.

He cautiously stands in a safe, protected place.


You’d think that all of this might be a little risky. In fact, if you do successfully cross, there is a reward.  Because if you do, you can just sit back and relax in one of the most beautiful places man has created: Le Jardin de Luxembourg … or “Le Luco” as it’s known in the neighborhood …

(post dedicated to Henrik, Anne, Rasmus and Johann)

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Author: Mark